Personal Stories, Spirituality

How Spirituality Found Me (a former skeptic)

I’ve contemplated writing about my spiritual awakening experience for a while now, but it has never quite felt like the right time.   Words aren’t always adequate to capture an experience that’s both deeply personal and is best understood as a felt, embodied sense rather than something that can be described and analyzed.  But I am going to try my best because it feels important to begin sharing how my own path has included twists and turns for those who may have had their own interesting, unexplainable experiences.

I grew up within the Catholic religion, experiencing all the prescribed milestones throughout my childhood: Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation.   I even had the opportunity to visit the Vatican and see the pope from afar in my teens. While I always appreciated the rich tradition that Catholicism provided, beautiful religious art and architecture especially, as I grew into my late teens and early 20’s I began to look at religion as a cultural signpost, a representation of my heritage, rather than as a spiritual tradition.   I recognized that religion did provide spiritual support for many and good moral foundations, but it had never fully connected the dots for me and the dogma didn’t seem to fit my developing sense of self-autonomy.  And so I left it at that….without the drive to explore further, I labeled myself as agnostic in my young adulthood and visited Church only on holidays.

Science and research became another “religion” of sorts for me in my late 20’s as I entered graduate school for psychology.  It seemed to provide solidity in a way that was comforting, in a way that I could get behind.  There was a prescribed sequence of inquiry, analysis, and data that research provided.  My analytical left brain found satisfaction and excitement in finding new ways to explore the world of human nature through reading, citing, and conducting research.  I felt like I had a greater understanding of the world, a foundation from which to base my decisions, actions, and worldview.  And I did….but little did I know, as I entered my final year of graduate school, that things were about to get a whole lot less linear.

Continue reading “How Spirituality Found Me (a former skeptic)”

Emotional Healing, Inspirational Figures, Personal Stories

“Sensitive is Just How I was Made”

 

In a vulnerable talk about her bulimia, alcoholism, and drug abuse, Glennon Doyle Melton teaches the joy and strength in removing our public masks to express our emotions and finally feel all the difficult human stuff we tend to push down by wearing our daily superhero “capes.”   Children know how to express their emotions from a very young age, crying and raging easily, but we tend to find ways around this expression as adults as it becomes less and less acceptable to feel and embody the messiness of life.  Sensitive souls, especially, may find themselves mired in addiction, or chronic pain, or medication.  Truth, vulnerability, and authenticity are the keys to beginning a healing process.  Glennon leads the way…

Inspirational Figures, Personal Stories

Lessons from Beyond the Rainbow

Judy GarlandToday, on the anniversary of Judy Garland’s famously attended funeral in New York City, along with the NYC Gay Pride parade this weekend, it seemed like an appropriate time to devote a blog post to this icon.  She is a deeply beloved figure both within the gay community and to children and adults around the world who have landed upon her classic film, the Wizard of Oz.  I was one of those kids, awed and fascinated by the innocent and beautiful Dorothy in the blue dress.  The Wizard of Oz played on repeat in my home, as I fawned over her voice, her sparkly red shoes, and her metaphorical journey back home. 

As beloved and talented as she was, she was also a tragic figure, dying at the early age of 47 from an accidental barbiturate overdose, with a long string of failed marriages behind her and a history of childhood abuse by studio executives.  As loved as she was, she never could quite seem to muster that same love for herself.  She picked herself up by the bootstraps many a time, only to fall back into the same patterns of addiction and difficult men. Continue reading “Lessons from Beyond the Rainbow”

Emotional Healing, General, Personal Stories

Psychologists can struggle too…

In the realm of psychology, it is not often that you hear of therapists or professionals admitting to their own struggles and emotional ups and downs.  We are supposed to be the models of emotional well-being, after all.  Well, guess what, we’re human too, with all sorts of messy stories and imperfections.  I think the greatest gift a therapist or any healer can give to others is the openness to be themselves and share that story, especially since healing from setbacks can be one of the greatest gifts to building oneself as a well-rounded and empathetic practitioner.  Continue reading “Psychologists can struggle too…”